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Living Symbolism and the Light of Christ
- how to get around the ego without waking it up

by Michael Maciel

Written and spoken words are always slow in their transformative effect, because they must first make it past the ego-driven conscious mind. Anything that doesn't fit in with its current understanding will immediately be rejected (or changed into something else). Divine ideas are perfect and make no sense whatsoever to the conscious mind; therefore, they are not a threat to the ego. This is why mystical teachings throughout the ages have been cloaked in story form, the "milk instead of meat" of Saint Paul. It's not that spiritual teachers think that their listeners are stupid. On the contrary, they know that it's the well-developed mind that will find reasons why the truth isn't true. By using symbols and symbolic stories, these teachers are able to slip the truth past the conscious mind directly into the subconscious where it will have a chance to gestate.

The activity of God within our subconscious first emerges into our awareness as visible light, because the new "knowledge" has nothing it can relate to in the brain. It’s a higher energy impinging upon, or intersecting with, a lower energy—the resultant reaction is light. Like the impact of a stone hitting the surface of a pond, the waves go out in all directions at right angles to its point of entry. One can see a resemblance to this in the image of a galaxy or in the cross-shaped halo depicted in some of the artistic renditions of Jesus. This gives us a way to understand what we are experiencing when we see the Inner Light, the Light of Christ.

The "birth" of Christ
Make no mistake about it—this light is real. It is the direct result of the activity of the Life of God deep within you. It is not a metaphor for "understanding". When awakened, it can be seen with the inner eye in the "cave of the nativity" in Bethlehem. The name "Bethlehem" means "house of bread". Along with the other elements of the story of the birth of Jesus, this symbolic language describes the area of the body where the light first appears and the methods by which it is activated.

The light, or Light of Christ, can appear in other places as well. Sometimes, it is seen in or above the head. At other times, it appears to be out in front, or behind and above. It can appear and disappear—the way the newborn Jesus did in order to escape the malicious conspiracies of Herod. But the story of the birth of Jesus refers to the amalgamation of the light with the physical body. It’s one thing to "see" the light; it’s quite another to be joined with it—to give birth to it in your body.

Once the light takes hold, it "disappears" for "twelve years", just like Jesus did when he was taken into Egypt. Twelve is a symbolic number. It represents the period of amalgamation that takes place deep within the subconscious part of the mind, where the patterns for growth and development reside. Those who have perfected this amalgamation reside in the "City of God". The state of perfection is sybolized by the number 144,000, which is 12 x 12 (144) perfected (1,000). This number is a symbolic number and was never intended to be taken literally. It's a kind of shorthand or scientific notation, which can be read as a formula or set of instructions by anyone who understands what the symbols mean.

The interface
An energy matrix, called the spiritual body, holds the molecular structure of the body in place. The light acts directly upon this matrix, increasing its potential and causing it to realign with its original (Adamic) pattern, the "First Man". But instead of erasing all of the subsequent experience, a mixture of good and bad, the new impulse, the Logos or Word "saves" the good and purges the bad. Bear in mind that here the words "good" and "bad" refer to biological and spiritual elements that either serve or hinder the evolutionary growth of the race.

Every spiritual pattern has its counterpart in the physical body. As one is affected, the other reacts accordingly, and it doesn’t matter which comes first. Both spirit and the body are effects of something greater. This is why the sequence doesn't matter. What does matter is the underlying intention, that which can be called one's stand or spiritual Word. This Word has nothing to do with language per se, but with the orientation of will "spoken" as an expression of one's being. This is the meaning behind Jesus' words when he said, "Heaven [spirit] and Earth [matter] will pass away, but my words shall never pass away." It is also at the heart of the words Moses heard on the mountain, "I am that I am."

Act 1
Events in the life of Jesus are living symbols of what we can expect when we receive the Light of Christ. They were also triggers that set into motion the cosmic drama that we know of as the Life of Christ. The Slaughter of the Innocents, the Flight into Egypt, the childhood appearance in the Temple with the Elders, etc. are living illustrations of how the light goes about its work to regenerate the physical body. They are also actual events that were orchestrated by those who knew how to bring larger cycles into play for the benefit of the human race. This is bad news for the ego, which likes to believe that it (the ego) is the highest form of evolved humanity.

It’s no coincidence that the events in Jesus’ life parallel those of other world saviors. Symbols were meant to be lived, and the writers of all sacred texts knew this. The foretelling of Jesus’ life in books such as Isaiah were both prophecy and formulae. This is why the Catholic Church says that the Mass is the continuation of the redemptive work of Christ. It is the recapitulation on a smaller scale of an event that changed the direction of human evolution. Moreover, as Emerson said, "There is no great and no small to the Mind that maketh all." Action is action, regardless of scale.

Jesus was born deep in the earth (in a cave) at the animal level (in a manger). He had to be "lifted up" in order to obtain salvation (enlightenment) for all mankind (the human body). So must the life energy in us (the Kundalini) be raised up the spine to the head (Golgotha, the place of the skull) in order to realize our oneness (at-one-ment) with God and be healed.

By seeking the light, you are inviting it in. And by inviting it in, you are making yourself accessible to its transforming effect. The light is the first manifestation of the perfect Life energy of God, the Christ in you. Who can be against life? The life energy is the perfect manifestation of the will of God. You cannot go wrong by focussing on radiant light, the visible manifestation of the life energy in you. This is the Royal Road, the pathway to God.

The Virgin Mother
In its beginning stages, the Light of Christ, as it starts to grow in you, needs to be protected and nurtured, just like the baby Jesus. Your Mother aspect must be exclusively devoted (virginal) to the newborn child; your Father aspect must be protective and open to higher guidance (Joseph’s dreams), and wise. Meditations on the Holy Family will bring you into direct contact with the reality of these aspects, regardless of how much or how little you understand the living symbolism, and will make them accessible to you. Jesus illustrates these aspects as they would be used by the spiritual student to nurture and protect his or her newfound light in several of his parables: the pearl of great price, the lost coin, the lamp oil of the virgins, and many others. Monastic traditions throughout history have used cloistering and careful spiritual shepherding to insure that the "Christ Child" has the best chance to survive into maturity in the soul of the aspirant on the Way. This principle is so well known that nearly everyone who has any degree of inner sensitivity recognizes the need to hold the knowledge of their endeavors close to the vest until they are out of their vulnerable period of gestation. This is a universal law of creation.